May 23rd, 2014
Saitama Seibu Lions 4
Streak: Won 1 Last 5: WWLLW
Seibu Dome Streak:
|W: Kiya (4-2); L: Nogami (3-4)|
The Swallows ended the epic tragedy of Tribulation by winning at the upturned wash basin in Tokorozawa today. Finally, some baseball joy to overcome the dismal setting.
|1||Yamada (2B)||1||Akiyama (C)|
|2||Ueda (CF)||2||Nagae (SS)|
|3||Kawabata (3B)||3||Kuriyama (LF)|
|4||Balentien (LF)||4||Nakamura (3B)|
|5||Yuhei (RF)||5||Mejía (1B)|
|6||Hatakeyama (1B)||6||Asamura (2B)|
|7||Morioka (SS)||7||Abreu (RF)|
|8||Aikawa (C)||8||Sumitani (C)|
|9||Kiya (P)||9||Nogami (P)|
|RP||Matsuoka, Yamamoto, Akiyoshi||RP||Okamoto, Takekuma, Toyoda, Williams, Bowden|
This game started off as a ball. One out into the first, Tsuyoshi Ueda reached first on a strike-out (via wild pitch) and quickly made it home thanks to a Kawabata home run to right – his fifth of the year, tying his career-high five from last season. Balentien then doubled and reached third on a Yuhei ground-out. Hatakeyama then passed Kawabata by hitting his sixth round-tripper of 2014. 4-0 Tokyo.
In the fourth, the Birds added a run in a fun way. Aikawa walked, moved to second on a Kiya single (it’s great when pitchers hit), and scored on a Yamada double that saw Kiya get nabbed at third. 5-0 Tokyo.
Tokyoites (and people who wish you were Tokyoites), you knew this part was coming: Two outs into the bottom of the fourth, Mejía hit a solo home run. Then Asamura hit, Abreu and Sumitani walked, and Kiya walked Morimoto to give the generous gift of a run to the Lions. Know what undoes any respect earned by getting a hit? Walking in a fucking run, Ryo-kun!
Akiyama then hit a two-RBI single. 5-4 Tokyo.
At this point, fellow travelers, we’re all remembering that it’s not just the striking and unnecessary ugliness that makes us dislike the Seibu Dome. Nor is it just the god-awful dining options. No, at heart, it’s the baseball.
Never fear. Okamoto walked Yuhei, got two outs, then gave up an RBI (bouncing off the mound) to Aikawa. 6-4 Tokyo.
In the eighth, Balentien singled and was replaced by the Hermes of Gaien, Wataru Hiyane. Yuhei and Hatake then both singled, getting Hermes nabbed in the process. So much for the god of thieves. Never fear, though. Longtime Tsubamegun favorite and recent big-money benchwarmer Hiroyasu Tanaka singled and was replaced by another blast from the (Takada) past (and other guy known by his first name without having tried to make himself a star by calling himself by his first name), Keizo Kawashima.
(As an aside, because I don’t get out much: Being called by one’s given name only is a, normally posthumous, mark of supreme respect, implying that one is so well-known and respected within his field and among the public at large that he need no family name to identify him. Natsume Soseki is known simply as “Soseki” because he was one of the greatest writers of all time. Ichiro had a semi-excuse: he was not the only Suzuki on the team. He has also retroactively earned his early overreach. Pretty much no other Japanese baseball player has. Yoshinori’s blowing is karma. All of this by way of saying that Hiroyasu and Keizo are all right because the fans started calling them by their given names – they didn’t pull the Japanese equivalent of giving themselves a badass nickname.
(“T-Okada” and “G.G. Sato”, you guys would have to buy every member of Tsubamegun an entire brewpub to overcome your self-naming dumbassery. And David Watkins’s brewpub had better make good chu-hi, too.)
Anyway, Iihara came in and hit an RBI. Yamada then walked for another run. 8-4 Tokyo, Final.
The revenge of the city boys against the bland department store-discount suburbanites continues tomorrow afternoon.